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Rubber Band Ligation for Piles: Preparation, Recovery and Risks 

By Dr. Mayuri Pandey +2 more

What is Rubber Band Ligation?

Rubber band ligation is a non-surgical procedure used in the treatment of piles that don’t respond to conservative management (dietary and lifestyle modifications). Piles or haemorrhoids are swollen and enlarged veins appearing like a pillow like cluster near the lowest part of anorectal region. Depending on their location, there are two kinds of haemorrhoids- internal (found inside the lower rectum) and external haemorrhoids (found beneath the skin around the anus). 

Internal haemorrhoids are of 4 types:

  • Haemorrhoids which bleed but do not prolapse (fall outside the rectum)- Grade I 
  • Haemorrhoids which prolapse but may reduce and gain the normal position quickly- Grade II
  • Haemorrhoids which prolapse on exertion and require manual reduction (aligning the haemorrhoidal tissue in its normal position without cutting the skin)- Grade III
  • Haemorrhoids which may prolapse and are irreducible – Grade IV

Depending upon the degree and severity of symptoms, there are different treatment modalities available for managing hemorrhoids ranging from dietary and lifestyle modifications to surgeries. One such treatment is the haemorrhoid rubber band ligation in which the haemorrhoid is tied off with a rubber band, which helps in cutting the blood flow to the haemorrhoid. This technique was performed for the first time by Blaisdel in 1950s.1-3

Hemorrhoidectomy surgery is used for more advanced hemorrhoids, while rubber band litigation for hemorrhoids may be used for less severe hemorrhoids without the side effects of surgery.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Diagnosis

Your doctor will take a detailed history and do a thorough physical examination to confirm hemorrhoids. External hemorrhoids are generally visible upon examination especially if a blood clot is present. For internal hemorrhoids, he may do a digital rectal examination. 

Depending upon the type of hemorrhoid and the severity, your doctor will decide the need for rubber band ligation.1

Indications for rubber band ligation

Rubber band ligation for piles is indicated in the following situations:2

  • First and second-grade haemorrhoids
  • In third-grade haemorrhoids with bleeding or prolapse.

Surgery like laser surgery and stapled hemorrhoidectomy may be recommended for external piles if conservative treatments like sitz bath or topical ointments fail to provide relief or if the condition becomes severe. Rubber band ligation can quickly be done under local anesthesia for most patients.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

Treatment

Before going to the hospital for piles rubber band ligation, you should be aware of the following:

  • It is always better to go for this procedure along with a friend or family member.2
  • If you are on blood thinners, you should inform your proctologist before going for the procedure, your proctologist will ask you to do the necessary modifications.2

Rubber band ligation does not require any anaesthesia or any injections for bowel clearance. This procedure does not need hospitalisation and is usually carried out in a single session and hardly takes 10-30 minutes; although in cases of recurrent haemorrhoids, additional sessions may be needed.3,4

Read More: What is the Cost of Piles Surgery in India?

Points to be kept in mind after rubber band ligation: 1

Following are the common measures to do for symptomatic relief and avoiding the recurrence of the disease.

  • Diet: Add high-fibre foods to your diet like fruits, vegetables, lentils, etc. Drinking plenty of non-sugary fluids will soften the stools and reduce straining. Fibre supplementation may also help in reducing inflammation and bleeding. If still you have complaints of constipation, you can consult your physician and he may prescribe you stool softeners for the same.
  • Exercise: Moderate aerobic exercises like brisk walking for 20-30 minutes a day may help improve bowel function and keep your bowel smooth.
  • Bowel habits and anal hygiene: A good anal hygiene includes washing after passing stools; avoid using soaps to wash the anal area as this can result in dry and itchy skin. Make a habit of emptying your bowel completely, whenever you feel the urge to pass motion you should go to the washroom immediately to help in reducing pressure due to straining.
  • Sitz bath: After each bowel movement, a 20-minute warm water bath for the hips and buttocks may help relieve irritation and itching.  
  • Topical relief: Placing an ice pack for a few minutes near the anal region may help reduce swelling and pain. Any medication should only be used after a doctor’s consultation.
  • Sitting on a cushion instead of hard surfaces may avoid worsening of existing haemorrhoids and formation of new ones. 
  • Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics and painkillers. It should be ensured that the prescribed medication is taken properly.3
  • You may return back to work and resume daily activities the very next day. In case of any complaints or discomfort, consult your doctor and take bed rest for 2-3 days.4

Read More: 8 Best Home Remedies For Piles

Risks2,3

  • Pain and swelling at the operated site
  • Minor bleeding and ulceration in the anal region
  • Urinary retention
  • Formation of a clot in the haemorrhoid  
  • Pelvic sepsis (severe bacterial infection)  
  • Erection of penis3

Performing rubber band ligation is contraindicated in the following: 3

  • Crohn’s disease
  • HIV positive person

Conclusion

Rubber band ligation is a treatment modality to manage piles. In this, the haemorrhoid is tied off with a rubber band, preventing the blood flow to the haemorrhoid. This process does not need anaesthesia, bowel clearance or hospitalization but can result in anal discomfort and pain. Your doctor or proctologist will assess the need of the procedure and weigh its benefits against the risks involved and will counsel you in detail about rubber band ligation aftercare.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1] What is the rubber band ligation?

Rubber band ligation is a non-surgical procedure in which the haemorrhoid is tied off with a rubber band, that helps in cutting the blood flow to the haemorrhoid.1

2] Does rubber band ligation pain?

Yes, rubber band ligation is associated with post-procedural pain, for which your doctor will prescribe painkillers.3

3] What is the rubber band ligation procedure time?

Rubber band ligation procedure is quick and hardly takes 10-30 minutes for completion.4

4] What are the contraindications of rubber band ligation?

Rubber band ligation is contraindicated in Crohn’s disease and HIV disease.3

5] What is the risk after rubber band ligation?

Rubber band ligation may increase the risk of urinary retention, bleeding, ulceration and pain in the anal region.2

Disclaimer

The information provided at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by any healthcare professional. As per unique individual needs, the reader should consult his/her physician to determine the appropriateness of the information provided for his/her situation.

References:

  1. Hemorrhoids and what to do about them (2021) Harvard Health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/hemorrhoids_and_what_to_do_about_them 
  2. Lohsiriwat V. Hemorrhoids: from basic pathophysiology to clinical management. World journal of gastroenterology: WJG. 2012 May 5; 18(17):2009. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3342598/
  3. Albuquerque A. Rubber band ligation of hemorrhoids: A guide for complications. World journal of gastrointestinal surgery. 2016 Sep 9; 8(9):614. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037334/
  4. Stavrou G, Tzikos G, Malliou P, Panidis S, Kotzampassi K. Rubber band ligation of hemorrhoids: is the procedure effective for the immunocompromised, hemophiliacs and pregnant women?. Annals of Gastroenterology. 2022 Aug 30:509. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9399576/
  5. Kumar M, Roy V, Prasad S, Jaiswal P, Arun N, Gopal K. Outcomes of Rubber Band Ligation in Haemorrhoids Among Outdoor Patients. Cureus. 2022 Sep 29; 14(9). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9618009/

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